Personal Identity Formation: Cura Personalis Fellowship

closeup of Georgetown seal at University's front gate

The Journey to Physicianship

The mission of the Georgetown University School of Medicine’s Cura Personalis Fellowship is twofold:

  • To develop and apply a strong foundation of theory and practice in topics around physician professional identity formation;
  • To challenge learners to engage their own professional goals and skill sets.

As an innovative teaching-learning development program, clinicians will dive deeper into the varying components of physicianship, to include the core learning domains of leadershipwell-being/mindfulness, and lifelong learning

Our healthcare system, and the concept of physicianship, is constantly evolving, posing challenges to both student and practicing physicians. The Cura Personalis Fellowship was created to serve as a platform for physicians to establish a strong and diverse foundation in existing and emerging concepts in physician professional identity formation. Sponsored by the Office of the Dean and the Office of Medical Education, Cura Fellows are woven into the new Journeys Curriculum at GUSOM from the very beginning — meeting a small cohort of mentees during the start of their Orientation. Fellows have a unique role in facilitating the formation of student physicians, all while challenging their own personal and professional development.

A Robust Program for Diverse Learners

Professional identity formation is a multifaceted and longitudinal process, which is why we’ve created a program that builds this into the core of our curriculum. Cura Fellows will develop a solid foundation in relevant theories and methods in effective mentorship, identity formation, formative assessment, and in topics related to well-being/mindfulness, leadership, lifelong learning, resilience, interprofessional practice, and cultural competency. Cura Fellows will have the opportunity to explore their own professional identity and goals through a series of guided development sessions and an innovative platform to integrate and reflect upon their learning. Through the mentorship and facilitation of a small cohort of 10 first-year medical students, Cura Fellows will actively engage their learning while mentoring the next generation of physician leaders.

Successful completion of the one-year fellowship program culminates in a certificate of completion, honorarium, and an invitation to progress to the advanced longitudinal development program.

Fellowship Curriculum & Expectations

Column 1: Heading: Fellowship Program (Year 1)
Program Core: Orientation Training (3 hrs), Professional Development Series (1.5 hrs/session), Longitudinal e-Portfolio, Quarterly Fellow check-ins
Electives: Professional Enrichment Seminars (1 hr/)
Practicum: Serve as a Professional Identity Coach to a small group of Georgetown medical students

Column 2: Heading: Longitudinal Development (Years 2-4)
Mentorship: Continue to lead longitudinal small group and one-on-one PIF sessions as a Professional Identity Coach, and mentor a new cohort of incoming medical students every 2 years.
e-Portfolio & Curricular Engagement: Actively engage mentee reflections and development milestones via e-Portfolios.
Facilitate mentee summative presentations

Cura Fellows are expected to attend:

  • A one-time Orientation session,
  • A set of core periodic professional development sessions related to facilitating the professional identity formation of their mentees (approximately one session every two months),
  • Their choice of electives related to content areas of professional interest,
  • Two small-group mentee meetings and at least one individual meeting with each of their mentees,
  • To engage the professional identity development e-portfolios and prompts of their mentees. Ultimately, this fellowship was structured with the intensive time-demands already required of a clinician in mind. 

Mentee Curriculum

Through a series of e-Portfolio reflective prompts and facilitated small-group meetings, medical student mentees will engage with each other and their Professional Identity Formation Coach (Cura Fellow) around topics and questions in leadership, mindfulness/wellness, and lifelong learning. This will serve as a joint learning process for both the mentees and their mentor — exploring what it means to be a Georgetown physician and discussing difficult topics and experiences related to their formation. Medical students will present a curated summative version of their e-Portfolio to their Academic Family & Professional Identity Formation Coach at the end of the Foundational Phase, and at the end of their medical education.

Professional identity formation and integrative learning flowchart

At the beginning of his journey in Medicine at the Georgetown University School of Medicine (GUSOM), Jack explores who he is and hopes to be. Through a series of value-based assessments, the initial development of his e-Portfolio and Journey (learning plan), and facilitated conversation with his Academic Family and Mentors, Jack sets out with an intentional learning plan and an established community of mentorship.  Leadership, mindfulness & wellness, and the propensity for life-long learning will be at the forefront of his e-Portfolio development, with constant reflection at the core. As he progresses through his medical education in and out of the classroom, he will be prompted to document key learning experiences and to reflect upon what they mean to him — making connections between learning outcomes and how they apply to his professional identity formation. Jack will work with his mentors and learning community to adapt his learning plan to meet new academic and professional objectives. Jack’s wellness is made a priority as he completes periodic wellness checks to be mindful of his physical and mental health needs, with advisors providing information on resources where applicable and engaging the content Jack is prompted to reflect upon within his e-Portfolio. Upon the completion of his undergraduate medical education, Jack will graduate a mindful, resilient, and inclusive leader in Medicine and an adaptive life-long learner who can practice in the demanding, inter-professional healthcare setting that exists today. He will take with him his e-Portfolio, a front-facing narrative that has been developed and adapted throughout his time at GUSOM, and have the opportunity to serve as a mentor to future GUSOM student leaders that will come after him.

Application & Eligibility

Any Georgetown-affiliated faculty physician is eligible to apply for participation in the Cura Personalis Fellowship.

The 2019-20 application cycle will close at 5 pm on Friday, May 3, 2019

Program Leadership & Contacts

Maria Marquez, MD


Associate Dean for Reflection & Professional Development

Dustyn J. Wright

Co-Director (Designated Contact)

Director of Student Learning

Emily Aron, MD


Assistant Professor of Psychiatry